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Southwest FL May News – Spotlight on Sanibel and Captiva

Happy Spring!

So far 2010 has been a bustling year with continued record setting sales volume in Southwest Florida. Buyers are from all over the globe as always however we were discussing at dinner the other night that there is an interesting new crop of Californians and people from other West Coast states migrating here both on a permanent and part-time basis.

Canadian buyers continue to take advantage of the exchange rate and it’s predicted that the Euro’s shrinkage will bring more European buyers this spring and summer.

Last month we featured Fort Myers Beach in our newsletter and in this 35th issue of the newsletter, we give the same treatment to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva – Southwest Florida treasures both.

Getting to Know Sanibel-Captiva

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a sharp contrast to beach destinations in other areas of Florida most noticeably in that the islands are un-crowded and there are no high-rises. Island residents and visitors never worry about missing a sunset with the western-facing beaches and little to obstruct the Gulf of Mexico view from dawn to dusk.

There are 15 miles of beaches on the islands and 7 public beaches: 5 public beaches on Sanibel and 2 on Captiva. Sanibel is about 12 miles long and three miles across at its widest point. Captiva is about four miles long and ½ mile wide.

A mixture of low-rise condos, resorts, motels, single family homes and restaurants line the beach.

If you’ve ever been to Sanibel Island, you’ve certainly heard the term “Sanibel Stoop” which describes the bent-over, treasure-hunting folks combing through the island’s bounty of seashells. The key reason Sanibel has this abundance of shells – along with white, sugar sand beaches – is it is one of the unique barrier islands in the world with an east-west orientation (most islands are north-south). Tip: the best shelling is at low tide, especially at low spring tides at full and new moons.

View Sanibel-Captiva Homes For Sale

View Sanibel-Captiva Condos For Sale

The Sanibel-Captiva slogan “Naturally, you’ll love it here” is, naturally, a reliable portrayal of the island culture and environment, as the island is widely known for its nature conservancy, walking trails, bird-watching and unspoiled beaches. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the most popular place on the island for watching tall wading birds such as blue herons, egrets, and rosette spoonbills. (The photo gallery on the Ding Darling Refuge web site has a link to photos of their “dear departed crocodile.” It’s not often you hear a crocodile described as “dear” — quirky evidence how seriously the islanders take their wildlife.)

Sanibel Property Values

Architectural styles range from the ultra-modern to Mediterranian to “old Florida style” stilt cottages. Along the Gulf of Mexico side of the island directly on the beach, single family homes range from $950,000 to $18M plus. Condominiums directly on the beach range from $350,000 for a studio to $3.6M for a 3500 sq ft upper-floor condo with expansive views of the Gulf.

And there are many options in the middle tier priced at $400,000 to $750,000 for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath property with scenic views of vegetation, water, or golf courses. Many homes on the bay side of the island have private boat docks and waterfront views (saltwater canals and/or Pine Island sound).

Slow Paced But Never Boring

San-Cappers enjoy a slow-paced world with low speed limits and 0 traffic lights. Walking the beach, swimming, sunbathing, and shelling are obvious pastimes on Sanibel Island. But there is much much more. Take advantage of the full array of boating sports: fishing charters, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, dolphin-watching or sunset cruises. Cyclists enjoy 22 miles of bike paths that wind through friendly neighborhoods, shopping districts, beneath shady tree canopies, and along quiet waterways. Hit the shopping district’s quaint, fashionable shops (including well-known Chicos, which got its start on Sanibel Island). Explore art galleries, museums, and parks, or treat yourself to a day at the spa.

View Sanibel Homes for Sale here.

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